Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Le Bruniche Chardonnay di Toscana 2015

I often write about the variety of styles of Chardonnay and how our individual preferences influence our opinion of the wine.  It is certainly good that we have choices.  I do not assign a numerical rating to white wines but I hope that my description of the wines is more useful than a number.  

My local Costco just started carrying a few new Chardonnays including Le Bruniche Chardonnay di Toscana,  This wine from Italy is totally unoaked, so it is tart, acidic and dry with flavors of lemon,  peach and a little minerality.  This wine is too tart for me but if you are a fan of French Chablis, this is a viable, less expensive alternative.  The wine has 12.5% alcohol and sells for $11.99 at Costco.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Acrobat 2015 Pinot Gris Oregon

My wine research assistant, SC Wine Jane, and I look for different things in a white wine.  She would rather drink a Riesling and I most often choose Chardonnay.  On occasion, we can agree on a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio or Gris but that did not happen with the Acrobat Pinot Gris.  I really liked this wine but Wine Jane was not enthused.

Acrobat Wines are produced by King Estates Winery to reach customers who are looking for value at a reduced price.  They price these wines a few dollars less than their King Estates wines and they do this by using grapes from a wider area than just the Willamette Valley and producing larger volumes of the wines.  Although the wines come with a lower price, they have still received high ratings from Wine Enthusiast and others.

The wine begins with  bright, fresh flavors of melon and pineapple.  As the wine lingers in the mouth it becomes more acidic as it finishes.  This acidity makes it an excellent wine to pair with cheese or crab cakes.  The wine has 13.5% alcohol and I bought it at Costco for $10.99.

I do not assign numerical scores for white wines but I like this very much.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kirkland Signature Cotes de Provence Rose 2016

Here in South Carolina, we are already into summerlike weather.  That means that it is time for summertime favorite Rose' wine.  When you think of serious Rose', (not the sweet watered down cheap stuff) you have to go first to the Cotes de Provence region of south France.  In fact, between the summer of 2015 and summer 2016, sales of Provence Rose's grew by 55%.

Costco recently came out with the Kirkland Signature Cotes de Provence Rose 2016.  The grapes for this wine come from coastal vines of the St Tropez Peninsula on the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France.   The wine is made from Granache 30%, Cinsault 20%, Mouvedre 20%, Tibouren 10%, Rolle 10%, Syrah 5% and Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.  Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are not traditional grapes for a Provence Rose' but winemakers have begun adding them to bring more depth and structure to the wine.

The wine is light salmon in color and exudes a delicious aroma of tropical fruit and floral gardens.  Flavors of strawberry and citrus lead to a dry finish.  This delightful wine can best be enjoyed with a summer salad or grilled seafood.  I think this is one of the most enjoyable summer wines in the under $15 category and Costco is selling it for $8.99.

SC Wine Joe rating = 90 points

Friday, May 5, 2017

Kenwood Sonoma County Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2014

Kenwood Vineyards is one winery that always exceeds my expectations for their lower priced Sonoma County wines.  This Pinot Noir fits that description.

The Russian River Valley empties into the Pacific Ocean in northern Sonoma County.  The valley allows cool ocean fog to move inland and that cooling influence makes the area ideal for growing Pinot Noir grapes.  Some of the best Pinot Noir in California comes from the Russian River Valley.

Kenwood Sonoma County Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is aged 12 months in French oak and the wine has 13.5% alcohol.  This lighter bodied wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry, strawberry and some minerality.  You can almost taste the cool fog in this wine and I liked it very much.

Costco does not always sell wine for the same price everywhere.  I have read online that Costco is selling this wine for around $13 in some locations and that is a good price for a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  But at the Costco in Greenville SC, there are stacks of the wine and they have reduced it to $8,99.  If you can buy the wine for $8.99 you will want to take advantage of the sale.

SC Wine Joe rating = 89 points

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay Sonoma County 2013

It has been almost a month since I have posted any wine reviews on this blog.  I have had a cold and now can finally taste wine well enough to write a description worthy of your time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Reviewing Chardonnay is tricky, because there is such a variety of styles from very oaky and buttery to acidic wines aged only in stainless steel.  It is often difficult for me to distinguish between the quality of the wine and my own preferences about style.  My preferred style of Chardonnay is crisp but not lemon-like acidic and the wines I have most enjoyed are aged in older oak barrels so that the wine is still crisp but with a hint of oak flavor.

This is the third vintage of the Benziger Chardonnay Sonoma County that I have written about since I started my blog.  It is obvious that this is probably my favorite Chardonnay.  Total Wines enticed me back into the store with a very good coupon and I took advantage by buying this wine at a discount.  The final price was $10.67.  The wine is aged in Hungarian oak for 9 months and has 13.5% alcohol.

I found this wine to be a crisp flavor of mild citrus, and apricot with just a hint of oak.  Some reviewers mention lemon but I do not taste lemon.  I usually detect a slight fizz with this wine but no one else seems to get that.  We paired this with rotisserie chicken and it was perfect.  This continues to be at the top of my Chardonnay list.

SC Wine Joe does not assign a numerical rating to white wines.